Delaware nonprofits represent a sizable economic driver with $5.4 billion in spending, most in the local economy, said Sheila Bravo, executive director of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement.
The sector creates 45,307 jobs and $2.9 billion in wages, she reported at the state of the sector gathering that formed part of DANA’s annual conference, which was held May 2 at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall in Newark.
More than 200 people gathered for the 2019 IMPACT Delaware Annual Conference to talk about the nonprofit sector, with a focus on how diversity and inclusion lead to innovation. Bravo said that while nonprofits are bouncing back from the recession at various rates, they’re struggling to keep up with public demand — and public funding isn’t keeping pace either.
“The community landscape is changing rapidly, so for nonprofits to remain relevant and deliver their services efficiently, they need to adapt as well,” said Bravo.
Now more than ever, nonprofits need innovative solutions and collaborations led by inclusive teams.
“When you’re sitting in groups with people who look different from you and are different from you, you generate better ideas,” said Amira Bliss, a global nonprofit and philanthropy leader at Facebook. She also co-authored a study on nonprofit innovation for the Rockefeller Foundation.
The study found that diverse teams — composed of people with wide-ranging perspectives and skills — are one of six key elements required for innovation.
The conference kicked off with a plenary session with national and regional diversity leaders, including Dennis Chin, director of strategic initiatives at the think tank Race Forward, and James Collins, secretary of the Delaware Department of Technology.
Speakers agreed that more thoughtful conversations about diversity and equity are needed.
“Diversity actually introduces conflict. It’s only when we work through the conflict in an inclusive way that we get to enjoy the values that diversity delivers,” Collins said.
Other speakers and sessions:
• Advancing Racial Equity: From Ideas to Action — Dennis Chin of Race Forward
• Gender Identity & Inclusion — Salvatore Seeley of CAMP Rehoboth
• Innovation Starts With a More Creative You — Tony Middlebrook of the Horn Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware
• Galvanize Diversity of Voices — Patricia Rivera of Hook PR & Marketing
The 2019 IMPACT Conference was underwritten by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Sponsors of conference elements included Discover, Delaware Business Times, Delaware Public Media, Sir Speedy of Newark, Christiana Care Health System, Delaware Community Foundation, Mutual of America and WSFS Bank.
To learn more about DANA, visit delawarenonprofit.org.
CAPTION: DANA 2019 IMPACT Conference plenary speakers: Amira Bliss, a global nonprofit and philanthropy leader at Facebook, Dennis Chin, director of strategic initiatives at the think tank Race Forward, James Collins, secretary of the Delaware Department of Technology, and Sheila Bravo, executive director of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement.